The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boom Goes Sooner

ND erased the smiles on these faces by snapping a 47-game win streak in 1957.
November 16, 1957. Notre Dame rolls into Norman as a 19 point underdog to Oklahoma. The Sooners were riding an all-time best 47 game win streak, and were supremely confident. After a legendary game, the Irish won 7-0.
Terry Brennan carried off the field after the game.
Oklahoma will surely be using this as motivation going into this weekend's top NCAA game. #5 Notre Dame goes into Norman as an 11 point underdog to the #8 Sooners. I have read numerous articles and listened to many interviews this week. The consensus is nearly unanimous: Notre Dame is not worthy of its ranking, and we will be totally exposed by Oklahoma Saturday.

Although, I agree that we are underdogs, I think the talking heads are being hypnotized by Oklahoma's big scoring outputs against Texas and Kansas. I would like to do a small preview to let us know what to really expect Saturday. Do we have any chance? Three interesting comparisons seem to suggest a possible outcome.

1) I think you first have to look at the overall stats of Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
Notre Dame
Total Offense: 387 yds (#74) || Rushing 193 (#38) || Passing 194 (#98)
Total Defense: 280 (#6) || Scoring 9 (#2)
Total Offense: 488 yds (#17) || Rushing 199 (#34) || Passing 288 (#26)
Total Defense: 302 (#15) || Scoring 15 (#12)

On the surface, that suggests that Notre Dame has an average offense which is rather balanced. It is supported by an elite defense. Oklahoma seems to have an above average (not elite) offense and defense. The offense seems to rely on the pass.

2) Next, I think you need to look at the strength of the defenses the two teams have faced. While Notre Dame's schedule continues to be poo pooed by the media, the numbers don't lie. Here are the total defense rankings of teams played:
Notre Dame 
BYU - 4th
Michigan State - 5th
Michigan - 10th
Stanford - 34th
Navy - 48th
Purdue - 72nd
Miami - 114th
Texas Tech - 7th
Kansas State - 23rd
Kansas - 85th
UTEP - 94th
Texas - 107th
Florida A&M - FCS

If we throw out the worst defense each team has played, ND has faced an average D ranked #28, while Oklahoma has faced an average #63. Do you think these may have effected the stats in item 1) above???

3) Finally, Kansas State offers an excellent comparison of Notre Dame to Oklahoma via common opponent.
KSU vs. Miami: 52-13
ND vs. Miami: 41-3
KSU vs. OU: 24-19

KSU has the #42 ranked offense and the #23 ranked defense. I think the numbers show that KSU has a slightly better offense than us, mainly due to Klein at QB. However, our defense is far superior to KSU. Both of these facts are proven statistically and by how we handled Miami as a common opponent.

So what does all of this mean for Saturday? I'll try to summarize. Oklahoma's offense has an edge on us, but I think the stats show it is a slight edge, perhaps based on a weak set of opponents. I also think our defense is unlike any they have faced. I think it fair to assume that Oklahoma will probably put up somewhere between 17 and 28 points on us. I also think we should be able to expect a similar output. Of course these projections cannot account for intangibles. Turnovers and penalties will most assuredly decide this game.

I think the matchup is FAR closer than the "experts" are predicting. You have to assume Golson will be improved, and you have to assume Kelly will have a few wrinkles in the gameplan to try and manufacture a few big plays. I think the keys to the game are:
  1. The success of those wrinkles
  2. Being even or + in turnovers
  3. Punishing the lines of Oklahoma with physical play on offense and defense
My prediction:

Notre Dame: 27
Oklahoma: 24


Teddy said...

By the way, no game watch party for me. I'll be watching in the basement by myself with a 6-pack that I will assuredly finish, win or lose!

Colin and Liz said...

I don't think I'll be able to watch this game. I will probably rent a movie and sporadically check the score of the game on my phone. I am a little frightened of Oklahoma. If you look back at their loss against KSU they were very unlucky. KSU sacked Landry Jones in his endzone and picked up the fumble for a TD. Also, Oklahoma lost a fumble on KSU's 1-yard line, which obviously could have been a TD. Thus, a 24-19 KSU win could have easily been a 29-17 Oklahoma win. Also, we all know we dominated Miami, but they definitely should have scored a TD on that first drive, which I don't think would have effected the outcome of the game, but could have effected the end score. I think if they score that easy TD the score is closer to 41-13.

Also, I think the mainstream media (MSM) is giving us a little credit. I believe Mandel (SI) and Feldman (CBS) both have us losing close to Oklahoma. But I am definitely ready for a chorus of "ND was overrated" by the MSM if we do lose.

I think our defense will keep the game close (I am thinking we give up between 14-27 points). However, I am truly worried about our offense and special teams. If Oklahoma dominates the field position battle and/or scores against us on special teams it is game over.

We really need Kelly to run a couple of wrinkles to throw Oklahoma off. I am thinking a reverse to Neal, or a Goodman pass to the QB after a backwards pass. Sometimes you just need to get creative. We also need Golson to keep Oklahoma honest with his running.

My prediction, Oklahoma 27 - ND 13. I just feel that we are going to make have a dumb turnover or penalty that will really set us back. We just aren't built to come from behind, and I think if we end up in that position we just will make more mistakes.

Teddy said...

Should we pull off the "upset of a lifetime" and somehow manage to pull one out, I have another thought.

How quickly will the media point out that Oklahoma was TOTALLY OVERRATED?

I am absolutely sick of hearing how our luck will run out and we will get killed almost weekly, only to have those same morons refuse to admit they were wrong about us. Every team we have played has been the same story:

Navy: tough option attack
Purdue: should challenge for B1G title
MSU: Best D we have faced, and unstoppable RB
UM: Denard owns us, he's unstoppable
Miami: Finally ND will get killed by a true passing O
Stanford: Too physical for ND
BYU: Trap game, will pull the upset

Every time, we have gotten lucky and pulled one out. When does it stop being luck?

Teddy said...

God I am so fucking smart!